How to Make a Little Lighthouse Out of Papier-Mache

Lighthouses can represent both solitude and romantic mystique.
Lighthouses can represent both solitude and romantic mystique. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Creating a papier-mache lighthouse will allow you to hone your model-making skills as you produce a picturesque decorative piece. The finished lighthouse can stand alone on a mantel or shelf as a decoration, serve as part of a seaside diorama in a school project or even work as a toy.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Cardboard
  • Masking tape
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush

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Cut the toilet paper roll along its length. Curl one end to the desired circumference of the base of the lighthouse and the other end to the desired circumference for its peak, which will usually be slightly smaller. Secure the tube with masking tape along the line that you cut.

Cut two 4-inch circles from a piece of cardboard. Pierce the center of each circle and cut a smaller circle out of the center to create a cardboard ring that will fit over the top of the lighthouse. Slide the rings onto the lighthouse and tape them about 1 inch from the top, spaced 1/4 inch apart to form the lighthouse balcony.

Mix equal parts flour and water to create papier-mache paste. Tear newspaper into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 2 to 3 inches long. Dip newspaper strips into the paste and layer them onto the the lighthouse model, working to form smooth surfaces as you go. Allow the papier-mache to dry thoroughly after every two to three layers.

Paint the lighthouse with a layer of white paint and allow it to dry completely. If desired, add details such as a band of red below the balcony, a ring of blue on the rim of the balcony to simulate a painted railing or patches of yellow above the balcony to indicate the lighthouse beacon.

Many lighthouses are painted white or decorated with a wide horizontal band of color, but some get more interesting.
Many lighthouses are painted white or decorated with a wide horizontal band of color, but some get more interesting. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)
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